“The heart of UNF”: Employees to receive pay increases in upcoming fiscal year

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

Expressing her gratitude, University of North Florida (UNF) Interim President Pamella Chally announced salary increases for faculty and staff in an email Thursday afternoon. The funds required to provide these increases were included in the Fiscal Year 2022-23 Budget, which was approved by the UNF Board of Trustees (BOT) earlier this morning. 

We recognize that compensation has been a concern across the University, particularly with the recent price increases for gas, housing and other essentials,” she wrote. “I have talked with so many of you over the past several months and know the challenges you are facing, but I also have been touched by your incredible work ethic and dedication to our students and our mission.” 

The following details regarding salary increases were provided by Human Resources (HR) and included in the email:

  • In-unit AFSCME support employees will receive at least a 5% salary increase. The University entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with AFSCME increasing the minimum hourly wage from $10.50 per hour to $12.08 per hour, or approximately 15%. Other AFSCME employees’ pay will increase on a sliding scale so that the lowest paid employees receive the greatest increases.
  • All eligible A&P, out-of-unit faculty and out-of-unit support employees will receive a 5% across-the-board increase to their base rate of pay.
  • In-unit PBA employees will receive a 5% across-the-board increase to their base rate of pay.
  • The University has proposed a 5% across-the-board salary increase for in-unit faculty, and wages are currently being negotiated. 

A long history of disagreement over pay at UNF

We need to acknowledge the great work that they’ve been doing for years.”

— Dr. Moez Limayem

Both Chally and Limayem are “so grateful for [the faculty and staff’s] extraordinary commitment to the institution and academic excellence,” according to the email. 

Chally described “several conversations” she has had with president-elect Dr. Moez Limayem about increasing employee salaries, a topic he heard during his visit to campus. 

During Limayem’s final interview, he told the BOT that he would come with a “microscope and telescope.” The microscope, he explained, is to take care of concerns that need immediate attention while the telescope was for working on the future. 

One of those immediate concerns was an urgent need to increase faculty and staff salaries because their morale was “not where it should be,” he explained during the interview.

Moez Limayem (center) gestures as he talks to the University of North Florida Board of Trustees
Moez Limayem (center) gestures as he talks to the University of North Florida Board of Trustees on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Limayem is one of four candidates looking to become the seventh University of North Florida president. (Darvin Nelson)

Pay for employees at UNF has been a frequently debated issue, especially in the face of COVID-19 and, more recently, gas price and rent increases. 

Last August, when the University was still battling the pandemic, former UNF President Dr. David Szymanski received an $85,000 “incentive compensation” from the BOT. 

That same week, “all 9-month employees who have elected to have their paycheck spread over 12 months [did not] get a paycheck due to a lack of leadership from the University administration,” Dr. Hope Wilson told Spinnaker after the meeting. 

Where UNF stands today

“Thank you again for all that you do for UNF,” Chally wrote in her employee-wide email. “We are truly grateful.”

Spinnaker reached out to UNF earlier this week to ask how the administration was tackling the issue of low pay amongst its employees. 

Compensation for faculty and staff alike has been a “top priority during this budget cycle,” UNF Media Relations Manager Amanda Ennis wrote in an email. 

UNF faculty protest in the Student Union
In this Aug. 12, 2021 photo, University of North Florida faculty members protest for better COVID-19 policies and wage increases before a Board of Trustees meeting. During the meeting, the BOT would give then-University President Dr. David Szymanski an $85,000 “incentive compensation” already included in his contract. (Justin Nedrow)

The raises will take effect on July 9 and be reflected in paychecks issued on July 29. 

These pay raises apply only to employees with hire dates prior to April 1. Employees who have received a notice of non-reappointment or are under performance improvement plans are not eligible for these pay increases. Also, any salary increase received on or after April 1 will “offset the across-the-board [Fiscal Year] increases,” according to the email.

Any employees with questions should contact their supervisor or HR by emailing [email protected].

This is a breaking news story. Stay with Spinnaker as we continue to cover pay at UNF.  

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].